Nearly 20% of NYC's sexual misconduct reports happened on MTA alone
December 2, 2017 11:53 AM   Subscribe

 
I know this is not the intent of the poster or people doing this research, but it makes me so damn tired how most of this is worded from the point of ‘women’s fear’ and not about male entitlement. Again, not a criticism of this important and well-researched post, just...a sigh, basically. Women, they sure have a lot of problems, don’t they. /hamburger
posted by The Toad at 12:07 PM on December 2, 2017 [31 favorites]


There's also See Jane Go, an all-women ridesharing app that's currently operating in Orange County and Long Beach, CA.
posted by mogget at 12:33 PM on December 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


Framing this stuff as Men are Entitled Asshats Who Need to Cut This Shit Right Out often gets non-men doxed. Or worse.

I wish that it didn't. There are good men. But there's no way to know which are which just by looking.
posted by monopas at 12:48 PM on December 2, 2017 [11 favorites]


Thanks for the post! In Los Angeles we have the same problem, but they have creatively decided not to track it. There is a 1800 number to call if you are being harassed or feel unsafe, and it uses the same language as the British service. BUT! The number only accepts calls from 213, 310, and 323 area codes, the local area codes of LA city (This excludes area codes in LA county, and the train service is for the county). If you have a cell phone with a different area code (a high possibility if you’re a tourist or a transplant like 40% of the city) you cannot call it. Once you get off the train/bus and find a landline at your destination, or borrow a friends phone, if you do call it and say “a person was harassing/ assaulting me/ masturbating on me/ etc”, the response is, “what do you want me to do?” You have to tell them, “send an officer to x station” or “ I want to make a police report.” If you say “I don’t know, I just called the number to report harassment” they reply “ uh, ok” and laugh and hang up.

I am so heartened to hear that some efforts are being done in other places. Wish they would come to my city.
posted by holyrood at 1:18 PM on December 2, 2017 [9 favorites]


Holyrood, I have heard that hotline's well-nigh useless; down here in San Diego, we're supposed to call the local police office’s non-emergency number (when reporting after the fact; during harassment, we're supposed to call 911, which feels like borrowing trouble nowadays). It's great CA has anti-harassment laws on the books, but decidedly less great that enforcement of these laws doesn't happen.
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:52 PM on December 2, 2017


There does seem to be a dearth of officers stationed in the NYC MTA lines. I've seen a few officers lately on the platform during rush hours, but they are still severely lacking during other hours and are rarely on the train itself. It seems having a few more riding around would be of help.
posted by hexaflexagon at 2:12 PM on December 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


All the times I've seen random penises in real life when I was not expecting them nor wanted to see them, it has been on public transportation. I'm often not sure if it's better to be in a mostly-empty train car or bus, where there are fewer people around to expose themselves but also nobody around to intervene should something happen, or if it's better to be in a crowded car where it's unlikely that someone will masturbate at me but it's also much more likely that someone will accidentally brush against my butt or breasts. I've had enough creepy taxi rides that I'll add the all-woman ridesharing app with pleasure.
posted by ChuraChura at 2:17 PM on December 2, 2017 [8 favorites]


The FPP article states that the NYT study suggests that crowded trains cause more sexual assault. The evidence given is that 69% of reported assault claims took place during rush hour. But most subway rides happen at rush hour, so I don't find that convincing.

This document has all sorts of interesting ridership details.
posted by andrewpcone at 2:40 PM on December 2, 2017


Did someone delete all the instances of 'ti' and 'tt' from the body of the article in that last link? I really want to read it, but it's really distracting.
posted by ernielundquist at 2:40 PM on December 2, 2017


andrewpcone, I don't see why you have a hard time believing that? When trains are crowded, it's very easy to disguise groping, rubbing, and other things as just the consequence of being squished together. And, when trains are crowded, it's very hard to get away from someone who is doing that to you.
posted by ChuraChura at 2:48 PM on December 2, 2017 [4 favorites]


Not presenting this as an ideal solution at all, but since the women only ride sharing app was brought up, there are also many countries that offer women only buses and train/subway cars.
posted by FJT at 2:50 PM on December 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


ChuraChura, I'm not saying it isn't true. I'm just saying the data in that study needs to be normalized for ridership at different hours, or it does not prove the point that the FPP article is trying to make.
posted by andrewpcone at 3:02 PM on December 2, 2017 [3 favorites]


Where I live, most people with access to a car can get by without riding public transportation at all. Public transport is a lot easier and cheaper, but it's still possible to get most places you absolutely have to go without it. And what really disturbs me is that a lot of the women I know do. They just don't ride public transportation at all, and they miss out on a lot of other things too. I know one woman who has literally been on a public bus ONCE in her life. She's probably 50 years old, and has lived all around the country, and only rode a bus once, just a couple miles so she could say she'd done it. I don't think she's ever been to a concert, either, which came up the time I was talking about a show I went to and she said she can listen to music at home without paying to be groped.

So as much as I appreciated that the problem of street harassment was finally starting to be addressed openly in public, I'm careful talking about it now, because I know so many women who have opted out of participating in public life because of the stories they hear about it. It's awful, and I don't know how to tell those stories without scaring women more than I want to. "Oh, it's normally just light sexual assault. You get used to it" isn't it. But how do you tell someone, yeah, it happens, but it's not worth giving up all the things I'd have to give up to (try to) avoid it.

Like the woman in the last link (in the article with the very bizarre display issue!) I'm sick of being told it's not safe for me to go out. We, or some large subset of 'we', need to go out, and we need to put the responsibility on those creating the problem. Primarily the street harassers themselves, but also the observers who turn a blind eye, the police and other officials who don't care, and the people who tell women to stay home.
posted by ernielundquist at 3:54 PM on December 2, 2017 [17 favorites]


I have rehearsed exactly what i would do if i were ever fondled on the subway:

1. Clap my hand over the offending hand.
2. Lift it away and whirl around to face guy, keeping hold of wrist.
3. Say to him, in loud voice - "excuse me, was this your hand? I just found it on my ass."

It is obscene i need to practice a response to that situation.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:40 PM on December 2, 2017 [6 favorites]


America has a "gun problem" and a "sexual assault" problem. Really American Men ARE THE PROBLEM. (i know, not every last one, just like not every bullet gets fire and not every motorcycle crashes).
What if we took the guns away from men and gave all women tasers, a stand-your-ground against harassment law that protect from liability and... oh, who am i kidding, this is america. I guess we'll just defund children health insurance plan.
posted by Anchorite_of_Palgrave at 8:08 PM on December 2, 2017 [7 favorites]


Did someone delete all the instances of 'ti' and 'tt' from the body of the article in that last link? I really want to read it, but it's really distracting.

No, I'm seeing the words "getting," "setting," and "button" in that article (in Firefox on a Macbook). Maybe there's a problem with your browser.
posted by John Cohen at 10:19 PM on December 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


It's worth noting there is more accountability associated with *getting into the right Uber* than any other option, including walking. Accountability (and consequences) is strongly associated with safety.
posted by effugas at 1:23 AM on December 3, 2017


It's awful, and I don't know how to tell those stories without scaring women more than I want to. "Oh, it's normally just light sexual assault. You get used to it" isn't it. But how do you tell someone, yeah, it happens, but it's not worth giving up all the things I'd have to give up to (try to) avoid it.

I think you just can't make that decision for other people, though? Like, for some people, even the fear of sexual assault is too much. I drive nearly everywhere now, and am SO FUCKING THANKFUL for not having to deal with street creepers to the same extent. Because I don't walk on the street or take the bus. And I don't care if I'm removed from the public sphere or whatever. Make the public sphere safe and nice and maybe I'll come back, but not before.
posted by corb at 1:43 AM on December 3, 2017 [1 favorite]


Did someone delete all the instances of 'ti' and 'tt' from the body of the article in that last link? I really want to read it, but it's really distracting.


It's a font issue, I assume somehow triggered by a lack of ligature characters in the font selected by the page (either the actual font, or a replacement automatically selected on the user's system?). I haven't dug into it further to determine the exact cause (maybe ligatures are turned on in CSS, but the font doesn't have any?), but a temporary workaround is to change your browser's settings to override fonts with your own font.

Or you can download the PDF.
posted by confluency at 1:56 AM on December 3, 2017 [1 favorite]


Here in Atlanta, life is car dependent, and few people who have the choice choose MARTA except under special circumstances, like going to the airport or sporting events. Atlanta traffic is an abomination, and I choose MARTA when possible to avoid it. I spend a huge amount of time defending that choice, in spite of the fact that I have been riding MARTA for 6 years now and have had very few bad experiences--mostly just some "watcha reading" kind of stuff, which is easy to ignore.

My friends frequently insist on driving me home or getting me rides home after things. This has often led to me stuck on a long car ride with a man, a friend of a friend, who I don't really trust. For me, it's hard to say to my friends, who mean well, "I would rather be on a public train with a bunch of other people, even though those people are people you have prejudices against, than be alone in a car with your creepy friend."
posted by hydropsyche at 4:52 AM on December 3, 2017 [16 favorites]


Hydropsyche,

What an amazing tale of what happens when risks are misidentified.
posted by effugas at 6:36 AM on December 3, 2017


I have rehearsed exactly what i would do if i were ever fondled on the subway:

1. Clap my hand over the offending hand.
2. Lift it away and whirl around to face guy, keeping hold of wrist.
3. Say to him, in loud voice - "excuse me, was this your hand? I just found it on my ass."

It is obscene i need to practice a response to that situation.


I have done this. It got me pinned to the wall by my throat, and then the offender threatened to kill me.

Now I just walk away.
posted by mollymayhem at 8:10 AM on December 3, 2017 [8 favorites]


Yes, hydropsyche. One of the things that drives me completely nuts is that the people (usually women) who give me the most shit for my choices all seem to have skewed ideas about risk assessment. Like, they're afraid to get on a bus, but they don't think twice about going out alone with men they meet, and stay in relationships with controlling, sometimes outright abusive men. The woman who accused me of paying to get groped at concerts spends every night at home with a man with a temper and an incredibly fragile ego. I wouldn't want a ride from that guy.

For all the time I've spent wandering around dark alleys and riding around on buses and things, the vast majority of times I've been physically injured or legitimately afraid, rather than just mad, have been in situations that my more cautious friends consider totally benign. I was violently attacked by a stranger in a busy suburban Target parking lot in broad daylight once, and the few other times I've thought I was about to be killed like right now, it's been someone I knew.

Strangers are unpredictable. There are real, serious risks that need to be identified and addressed, but statistically, you're safer out on the streets with strangers than you are at home with your partner.
posted by ernielundquist at 8:32 AM on December 3, 2017 [2 favorites]


There is (or was) a sign on the NYC subway that read something like: “A crowded Subway car is never an excuse for inappropriate touching”. It implies that there is an excuse - somewhere. How about - THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR INAPPROPRIATE TOUCHING!!! Lit up maybe. And flashing. And in neon.
posted by double bubble at 5:41 PM on December 3, 2017 [2 favorites]


Haha, double bubble, I think that EVERY TIME I see that sign.

Also the one about manspreading. I LOVE that they issue a warning about manspreading -- like, it's kind of incredible that it's mentioned officially -- but it says, "It's a space issue." Yeah, sure, but it's a fucking ENTITLEMENT ISSUE. Like everything else.
posted by knownassociate at 7:33 AM on December 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


My vandalism dream is to take the Unwanted Sexual Contact Subway Ad and wheat paste over it. My new text would say that it's against the law to inappropriately touch someone on the subway. My new text would encourage people who are considering touching someone or exposing themselves to find an MTA employee or a police officer.

Because I'm sick of the responsibility for dealing with this and preventing this to be on victims and potential victims. I want the responsibility where it belongs. And I want the assumption to not be "this happens, here's what you do when it does." I want the message to be, "On any given day, 99% of riders manage not to group someone on the subway. Be part of the 99%." (I'd bet that like other kinds of sexual misconduct, the percentage of men who would self report that they do this if you didn't call it sexual assault is probably in the 5-7% range, but I don't think 5% are doing it every day....)
posted by bilabial at 10:30 AM on December 4, 2017


The proper reaction to someone being creepy in public, whether that's stalking and leering or direct groping and assault, is to step back (or lean back, if there's literally not enough space to step), and say in a loud, clear voice:

"NO, I DO NOT WANT TO BUY ANY OF YOUR GODDAM HEROIN!"
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:22 PM on December 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


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